I haven’t heard much about the Tour de France this year — and I’m wondering why. Even though this is the final weekend, SI.com has nary a top story about it. I watched parts of a couple of stages on Versus, but only after accidentally stumbling upon it the first time.
I have two theories about this apparent lack of interest:
1) No American is in contention. It is true that Lance Armstrong has retired. We cheered him on for so many years that perhaps we forgot how to cheer for others. Floyd Landis is on a two-year ban, so he’s not an option either.
But checking out the Tour standings after stage 19 (there are 21 altogether) shows that Christian Vandevelde, from the USA, is in 6th place. At this point it’s unlikely he could win, but earlier in the race he was a contender. Also, there are two teams are from the United States: Team Columbia and Garmin Chipotle. So there is plenty to cheer about — if only the media was covering it.
2) Too many people are too tired hearing about illegal performance enhancing drugs and cheating. This reason is gaining some traction. The sport seems rife with accusations of cheating. There are two conclusions that can be drawn: Either there is in fact widespread abuse (with only a minority being caught) or the sport is made of up a bunch of sore losers who accuse anyone who wins of wrongdoing. Cheaters or crybabies, either way it’s not very compelling.